The biggest industrial bankruptcy in corporate history kicked off on Monday with an early morning filing from a General Motors dealership in Manhattan’s gritty Harlem neighbourhood.
The stricken carmaker, although Michigan-based, chose the New York dealership because it needed to show that it was incorporated in the district where it wished to file for Chapter 11 protection.
But the location of the filing also touches at the core of how GM’s bankruptcy impacts some of America’s most diverse communities, which have been hit hardest by the US recession.
The dealership opened on Harlem’s bustling Second Avenue in June 2006 as part of GM’s diversity programme. The move was part of a wider company effort to bring new businesses to poorer areas in the US and promote local owners who were minorities. GM has owned the business since the end of 2006 when the first owner left.